A recently published study into online radicalisation makes for alarming reading for parents and families across the UK.
It says that half of the UK’s young people who succumb to radicalisation are brainwashed by extremist material on the internet. It also finds that the number of people radicalised online in Britain has doubled in the last five years.
We can’t independently verify the findings, which were carried out by think tank The Henry Jackson Foundation and reported in the press. But the study does underpin a number of concerns that we have at FAST about keeping our families safe from terrorists who target our young people online and via smartphones.
As Daesh continues to be pushed out of Mosul and its so-called ‘caliphate’ collapses, we are gravely worried about increased efforts to radicalise British children online as Daesh’s physical ‘caliphate’ disappears.
We cannot allow our children to be reached by Daesh militants – or al-Qaeda, or any other terrorist organisastion with a twisted ideology and harmful intent – who want to indoctrinate them into committing atrocities.
At FAST, we have developed a series of ways in which we can all take action. It is our duty as parents and guardians to protect our children, our families, from this increasing threat.
Daesh utilises Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Ask.fm, Instagram, YouTube and many other platforms to target our kids. If you’re not familiar with these social media sites/apps, it makes sense to learn about them.
Often, conversations between Daesh’s militants and our children begin on open social media sites and then move onto private messaging applications like WhatsApp or Telegram.
There is no catch-all description, or foolproof signs that parents can look out for. However, there are factors which mean a young person may be more vulnerable to those seeking to radicalise them. FAST has published a guide entitled Should I Worry? which can be read here.
We also have a list of ways you can find help if you’re worried or suspicious about your child’s behaviour.
It is vital that we do not become complacent or think, ‘this won’t happen to me’.
This new study serves as a warning to us all that it can – and does – happen to people all over the UK. The threat is very real and could increase over the coming months.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us – we have a wealth of resources to help and assist.
Together, we can prevent our children being lead into a world of terrorism and from harming themselves and others. It starts with us.